So I started to keep sketchbooks again , and carrying around these little wooden mannequins wherever I went . They allowed me to look at things that were happening in my life , situations , people , emotional states , in a way that I hadn't really done before. Part of my return to realism was a desire to say things in paintings in an honest and open way, or at least in a way that was easily decoded by the viewer.
Sometimes Its easier to draw things than to explain them , there's a whole set of digital work that I was making around this time which I've thought of posting but I think for now I'll leave them in the archive. At what point does the personal become too much to display in your work , when does work stop being work and become therapy ? Those works caused me too much personal trouble ( leading to an irreconcilable rift between me and my sister Rowena ) sometimes work can be misunderstood - especially when its a shared story with two different viewpoints.
What I found and what I went on to use in my paintings was that the mannequins were capable of taking on characters, I'd been reading about De Chirico again particularly what he said about demons :
' The world is full of demons- so Heraclitus of Ephesus used to say as he strolled up and down the arcades at the noontide hour pregnant with mysteries. One must discover the demon in everything . The ancient Cretans used to stamp an enormous eye in the middle of the narrow friezes that decorated their vases and pots and ran around the walls of their homes. Even the human embryo, like that of a fish, a chicken or a snake, is nothing but eye in its earliest stages. One must discover the eye in everything' - De Chirico (1918) .
So I started collecting objects which had meaning to me , scouring junk shops and car boot sales to find objects which had a power and a presence , the mannequins had this through their ability to be posed and given roles in inner plays that ran through my mind as a language suggested itself . Later on the mannequins were replaced by dolls which took on the roles of Angels and siblings.
I have found through experience that people look at some of my work with a sense of discomfort , I have had conversations with galleries and exhibition spaces about what paintings I can and can't show , I turned down an exhibition at a gallery in Cardiff after the art director changed and a previously agreed exhibition content was questioned as to appropriateness as younger children would be passing through ( the venue was a theater and gallery ) , my paintings were made up of dolls and toys but used in a darker sense . I was reading a lot of the original Grimm's fairy tales at the time , which are quite horrific to a modern reader if taken as children's stories , but then we baby imagination at our own cost - childhood is equal parts terror and wonder .
The two drawings to the left eventually turned into these two paintings below .
|Obvious intimate relations|
|Wrestling with my inner horse|